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How She Did It: Sue Hashemi

Updated: Apr 9, 2020

This article is a part of our monthly Women Evolve(d): How She Did It Series

Each month we feature inspirational women who are undergoing career reinvention or have made it to the other side. Read about how they did it and take away usable tips from their career journeys! This month, we're featuring Sue Hashemi. Sue is passionate about supporting immigrant women pursuing employment and/or higher education in New York City.

What is unique about returning/pivoting in midlife? Challenges & opportunities?

SH: I think pivoting in midlife is unique because you carry a new perspective and have gained a deeper sense of self-awareness. I started out my career in financial services. My goals and priorities during my early career were more focused on financial security and finding ways to advance my career. As I’ve grown older my priorities have shifted. I have realized how important work-life balance is and how much more meaningful and enjoyable work can be when there is a sense of purpose behind it.

Some of the challenges of returning or pivoting in midlife include the inherent vulnerability that accompanies learning and newness while being outside your comfort zone. I’m trying to be less self-critical and to accept my process and to trust my growth. Despite these challenges, there are a lot of opportunities that come along with pivoting. Some of these include the ability to learn and develop new skills, to gain a new sense of self confidence, and to become a member of a new community. I also like the messages that my pivot conveys to my kids- especially my daughter. I’m role modeling that adulthood / professional identities are not always linear, that adults are never too old to learn and grow and that I’m evolving as a person and a professional.

I hope they internalize these messages!

What are you most passionate about right now?

SH: What I’m most passionate about right now is finding opportunities I feel very connected to. I’m first generation, my family immigrated from Iran in the early 1970s. I saw firsthand how

challenging it was for my family to leave their home country and start a new life here. It was a

difficult adjustment and I really gained a better understanding and appreciation of their journey as I became older and had my own family. Right now, I’m really interested in dedicating my time working with organizations that provide support and programming to help empower women immigrants.

Favorite book, app or podcast?

SH: My favorite book is The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. It was an inspiring story of women’s

strength and the power of community.

My favorite podcasts are:

Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations, because everything Oprah says is gold.

Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard because who knew Dax Shepard was so insightful?

Favorite App: NYTimes Crossword App., keeps my brain working and my 13 year old son

helps me solve them on a daily basis...bonus!

The advice I wish I had given to my 20 year old self is....

SH: You don’t have to have the next 20 years all figured out. Be prepared for life to change and to be flexible and to embrace the fear that often precedes opportunity. You will not know all the answers. Stay humble, ask questions, seek out mentors who are doing the work that you envision yourself doing one day. It is ok to explore your options and to shift your focus when your priorities’s never too late to start something new. Get to know yourself and what brings you joy and let that drive you.

Your theme song that played every time you walked in a room would be?

SH: “I’m Coming Out” by Diana Ross. It was also the song I walked out to with my husband for our first dance at our wedding. I really just love anything by Diana Ross.

What’s up next?

SH: Next, I will be working with an organization I feel very passionate about, whose mission hits close to home for me. I will be co-facilitating a workforce development program, which aims to prepare and support immigrant women to find jobs in the NYC workforce or to pursue higher education.

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